After getting pounded with last year’s Polar Vortex, many Michiganders are fearful of what this year’s winter skies may bring.

So, we look to the NOAA’s National Weather Service and The Old Farmer’s Almanac to hear their predictions. 

The NOAA National Weather Service is calling for a drier-than-normal winter in Michigan. Image credit: NOAA National Weather Service.

If you ask the NOAA National Weather Service, we aren’t in for as harsh of weather, like we experienced last winter.

From December through February, our Great Lakes region is in for a “weak El Nino”— meaning we’re looking at a drier-than-normal winter with equal chances of it being colder or warmer than normal.

While this forecast may have many Michiganders breathing a sigh of relief, meteorologist Brandon Hoving with the NOAA National Weather Service in Grand Rapids offered a warning.

“It appears that for the Great Lakes region, the odds are favored that we may not see persistent winter storms move throughout the area, like we saw last year — but that does not mean that we won’t see lake effect snow,” Hoving said. “We feel that we have decent chances for that, so we can still have normal or above-normal snowfall.”

Hoving also said, “A lot of factors can change a seasonal outlook — even within two to three weeks time.”

Hoving mentioned that things like atmospheric pressure changes, ocean temperature variations in the Gulf of Alaska and more can dramatically change our local weather.

The temperature outlook for southern Michigan's winter has equal chances of being colder or warmer than normal, according to the NOAA National Weather Service. Credit: NOAA National Weather Service.

If you subscribe to The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s predictions, you may want to get out your extra blankets.

The winter forecast for the Lower Lakes region, which includes southern Michigan, shows that “winter will be colder than normal,” with the coldest period happening from late December through early February, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s website.

Precipitation will be pretty typical with near-normal predictions in the southwest Michigan region, and “Snowfall will be above normal in most of the Lower Lakes region, with the snowiest periods in mid-December, mid-January and early February.”

The Old Farmer’s Almanac’s website says it predicts its weather forecasts “from a secret formula that was devised by the founder of this Almanac, Robert B. Thomas, in 1792.” Thomas believed that weather on Earth was influenced by sunspots, which are magnetic storms on the surface of the Sun. “Over the years, The Old Farmer’s Almanac has refined and enhanced that formula with state-of-the-art technology and modern scientific disciplines,” according to the website.